Election 2020: Candidates in Montana governor's race set for debate

Posted at 9:04 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-03 14:06:16-04

On Saturday, MTN News will host a debate between the two candidates vying to be the next governor of Montana: Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney.

The debate will air on all MTN stations at 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will also be available to watch on-demand on all MTN streaming apps.

The debate will be moderated by a panel featuring MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison, Jay Kohn (KTVQ Billings Anchor Emeritus), and Jill Valley (KPAX Missoula/Kalispell Anchor and Reporter).

Gianforte, 59, one of the wealthiest men in Montana, is currently serving his first term in Congress after beating Democrat Kathleen Williams in the 2018 U.S. House race. He has pitched himself as the “business guy” who will scrutinize government and make it more business-friendly. Gianforte co-founded RightNow Technologies, a software-development firm that began in Bozeman in the mid-1990s and grew to an international company. It was sold to Oracle Corp. in 2012 for $1.8 billion.

Cooney – a veteran of many elected offices – says he’s the steady hand who knows how to run the government and maintain vital services like public education, while guiding Montana to a bounce-back after a pandemic. Cooney was appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock as lieutenant governor in early 2016, has been Montana’s secretary of state, and a state senator from Helena. Originally from Butte, Cooney also has worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and an administrator in state government.

Viewers can watch the debate on KTVQ on-air; streaming on and the KTVQ mobile app, or with the KTVQ streaming app for Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV.

The governor candidate debate is the second in a series of three MTN debates.

On Sept. 26, Kathleen Williams and Matt Rosendale met to debate who should hold Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Coming up on Oct. 10, Gov. Steve Bullock and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines will meet for a debate in the race for U.S. Senate.

MTN Election Guide

Key Dates and Deadlines

  • Friday, October 2: Early voting begins at 7 a.m.
  • Monday, October 26: Close of registration
  • Tuesday, October 27: Late registration begins. This means that a person must come into the office in person. Prior to this, we will accept registration applications through the mail.
  • All ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.
  • Currently Montana does not accept a post mark; ballots must be in the office by 8 p.m. on election day.

Register to Vote

Register to vote or check your registration status.

Absentee/Mail-In Voting

1. Request an absentee ballot. Print it out, sign it and mail the request form back to your county board of elections.
2. Receive your ballot in the mail.
3. Fill your ballot out. You can mail it back or deliver it in person to your local county elections board.

Early In-Person Voting

Any eligible voter can also vote early in-person at their county board of elections, starting on the day after voter registration closes.

In-person Voting

Polls are open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3. You need to bring ID. If you don't, you can request a provisional ballot. (ID rules may vary for absentee ballots and first-time voters.)

Frequently Asked Questions

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